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The Oldie was founded by Richard Ingrams (of Private Eye fame) and a few others back in 1992. Originally it was published on a fortnightly basis, but when it nearly went bust, this changed to monthly.
So what is it?
It's unashamedly reactionary, but also funny and daring. You don't have to be an OAP to enjoy it - I'm nowhere near that and have read it virtually since the first issue. It contains a wonderfully unpredictable mixture of both regular and irregular articles. Regulars include the following:
Modern Life - which keep you up to date with many of the latest trends and ideas
Olden Life - which takes a nostalgic peek back at things which no longer are, such as the Necropolis Train or the Playtex Living Girdle
I Once Met - where a chance encounter with a (usually now dead) famous person is recalled
Dr. Stuttaford's Surgery - which deals unflinchingly with a variety of medical concerns
Superbyways - which contains many brilliant internet tips
Word Words Words - where fascinating derivations are explored
Enfield Senior - Harry's father having a good grumble about something
Anorak - where a genuine geek (different each week) raves engagingly about his or her lifelong obsession
Unwrecked England - in which Candida Lycett Green takes us to another lovely part of the country
God.......and Mammon - advice on religion and money, both often timely
There are reviews on plays, television, music, opera and theatre, and lots of book reviews, often accompanied by excellent offers.
There is an Oldie Wine Club column, once written by Henry Blofeld, and now by Malcolm Gluck.
There is a Sudoku and two crosswords, one simple ("Moron") and the other abstruse and tough ("Genius"). There is a light-hearted poetry competition and an agony column a bit like Dear Marge used to be. There are cooking and gardening columns.
And then there are the one-off articles, sometimes very moving of very funny and always interesting.
For example, these titles -
An article on the 90 year old mighty Wurlitzer (theatre organ) player, Arnold Loxam;
A piece "What's it like becoming a Dad at 60?"
A courageous essay on what happened when a facelift went wrong
And articles about strange encounters in unusual places.
The Oldie is not afraid to speak its mind against dumbing down. It is sometimes a little bit immoderate in its language. But thank goodness it takes the risk.
It has a sense of humour too. Many of the cartoons are excellent. There is also a great photo feature called "Seeing is believing", where genuine photographs of absurd notices are featured. You can send one in and win £10. This also works for "Not many dead" where real items from the press are quoted, the more fatuous the better. "Voice from the grave" takes quotations form the past and shows how true they are to today. There is an excellent letters page, where good themes are revisited from month to month.
It costs £3.25 and is fantastic value. You can subscribe for substantial savings, and even have a three-month trial for £1. What have you got to lose!